Features foot soldiers along with high-profile figures such as Malcolm X, Andrew Young, and Roy Wilkins ... To read such stories is to recall that the civil rights movement wasn’t animated only by speeches and mass demonstrations, but by thousands of individual acts of courage.
A lively, conversational transcription, one that faithfully recreates the energy in the room as Warren questions influential writers Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin, yields to Martin Luther King Jr.’s loquacious speaking style, and prods Malcolm X on the role of Elijah Muhammad in shaping his views. Of additional interest will be the online audio archives of all the interviews, hosted by Vanderbilt University.
Offer[s] a snapshot of the state of the movement in 1964 and show the disparate views of the leadership at the time ... they also include now-cringeworthy statements by both Warren and his interviewees on women, race, and class.Readers would be better served with the recent reissued Who Speaks for the Negro? and the availability of the full interviews online.
Displays the multiplicity of approaches African-Americans took to battling white supremacy, from the Gandhian nonviolent tactics advocated by Martin Luther King Jr., Kenneth Clark, and Bayard Rustin to the more militant positions of Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael ... Warren is a skilled interviewer, the responses are beautifully complex, and Smith and Ellis provide useful biographical context for each person. This is a fascinating and valuable document of the 1960s.
Reinvigorates Robert Penn Warren’s long-overlooked collection of civil rights interviews ... a modified, highly relevant version of Warren’s enormous undertaking ... It’s clear the editors made dozens of nips and tucks to maximize their stated goal of 'clear and engaging reading' while remaining 'faithful to the spirit and substance of the conversations.' The result is an anthology that arguably holds more contemporary importance as a historical document than the original release.